Welcoming writer Dom Aversano: exploring the interaction between technology, music, and globalisation.

Dom Aversano

 

I would like to briefly introduce myself as I will be creating a series of blog posts for Music Hackspace. I am a composer, percussionist, and writer with a particular interest in how globalisation and technology influence music. As I am convinced of the power of music to change us, I am naturally curious to know what are the forces that change music. 

 

Over the last decade, I have had an increasing number of conversations with people who sense we are living in a time of great change and upheaval technologically, socio-politically, and artistically. I want to delve into this by examining new technologies, interviewing experts, and asking questions about music’s past, present, and its possible futures.

 

An evolving Music Hackspace

 

Throughout this decade the Music Hackspace has been an anchoring presence in my life, offering learning, inspiration, and outlets for the technological side of my music. I remember its early days in Hoxton, London when a handful of people ranging from hip live coders and DJs to synth builders and Theremin enthusiasts would meet in the basement of Troyganic Cafe. It was hard to imagine this morphing into a glamorous residency at the elegant Somerset House Gallery in Central London, but it did, and in style. Now in its current incarnation, it is wonderful to see it open up to a truly global audience, having moved music – though certainly not all – of its activity online during the pandemic. 

 

My journey into coding

 

While some people come to Music Hackspace from a coding background moving towards music, my trajectory was the opposite. I studied music in a somewhat traditional manner before learning more about the technological possibilities of how to create it. I only truly learned Pure Data by working on The Cave of Sounds installation that the Music Hackspace helped fund and facilitate. It was a great opportunity in my life to learn not just from experts, but also from my peers, as the project involved solving hundreds – if not thousands – of small problems, to realise a bigger vision. 

 

A core group of eight people led by Tim Murray-Browne, we created an installation that exceed our own expectations, as it ended up touring the world, and is even currently being exhibited in Milan, Italy right now. It was a lesson in the power of teamwork, and what can happen when you combine skills to build something from a place where imagination takes precedence over experience. Some people in the group had virtually no musical experience, and others – like myself – had virtually no coding experience. 

 

The relation between technology and music

 

The relationship between technological development and musical progress is as old as time. Scales and chords are essentially algorithms. Cathedrals and churches reverb chambers. The piano is a revolutionary stringed percussion instrument with effect pedals. One can view church bell ringing and South Indian Carnatic music as early forms of generative music that combine algorithms and aesthetics to produce art. A question that might follow from this is, how is technology changing music now? 

 

Needless to say, AI represents a huge shift, but even before ChatGPT and Midjourney burst onto the scene, things were moving fast. The volatile world of NFTs and Cryptocurrencies attempted to change how art was funded and distributed. The Metaverse offered an alternative reality for artists to share their work. Yet humans are hard to predict, and hype doesn’t necessarily translate into lasting change. Many people’s priorities and beliefs changed during the pandemic, and technology should align with our better natures if it is to help improve the world. 

 

I look forward to exploring these technologies and topics in much greater detail and interviewing some of the world’s leading experts to find out what they think. 

 

Until then, if you would like to read other articles I have written you go to take a look at my Substack page by clicking here, and you can also listen to some of my music on my Bandcamp page by clicking here. You can also book a session with me through Music Hackspace by heading over to here.